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Electra

Life's Parade of Fashion

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Erin fidgeted as she waited outside by the garage for Trevor, wondering once again if this was a good idea. Agreeing to go to the dance with him had been an impulse, curiosity mixed with bravado and, she had to admit, the small thrill of being asked out at all. Trevor was fun to spend time with, and she was willing to bet he cleaned up really well. She hadn't really considered all that would be involved in cleaning herself up until it had been too late to back out without looking silly. And she did appreciate that he was going to help her not make a fool of herself, really.

But a fitting at an actual tailor? Erin hadn't actually known there were such things. When she heard tailor, she tended to think of fairy tale folks who killed seven flies in one blow or something like that. She knew about designers, obviously, but the way Trevor talked, this wasn't quite the same. She wondered what she was getting herself into.

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Trevor gave a small wave as he sauntered over, light brown leather jacket pushed back from a plain black t-shirt where the thumb his other hand was slipped into a belt loop on his jeans. If he was bothered by the vague awkwardness of the errand, he kept it from his expression and perhaps in doing so mitigated it somewhat. As usual, his manner was relaxed and contained, carrying a reassuring confidence of movement. "Weren't waiting long?" he asked as he arrived in front of the garage.

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"No, not long," Erin confirmed, "I just ran a little early. Do you know how fast this guy we're going to see works? I've never really done this before, but if we're going to be bringing a dress back, we should probably take my truck. Unless you've got a really big secret compartment on your bike," she joked. "Be tough to carry home on my lap, I think." There, if she could joke, she obviously wasn't too nervous about this. Trevor wasn't making a big deal about it, so why should she?

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Trevor considered as they walked into the garage. "Fitting shouldn't take long." The lanky youth stopped for a moment to sweep his gaze over the parked vehicles. Automatically, he began compiling a list of adjustments he'd like to make to each of them given the chance. "Won't start designing until he sees you, though," he continued. "Frank only does one-of-a-kinds." He shrugged smoothly. "Could still take the truck; been meaning to see how she runs."

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"Sounds like a good idea," Erin agreed. "Like I said, it's almost new, but I think it could do better. I've been reading up, a little, but it's all pretty confusing. I can change my own oil and filters, that's about it." She led the way to an extended cab pickup truck in an attractive metallic blue color. It was obviously well taken care of, very clean and with no more dings than were unavoidable given New Jersey driving.

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Trevor nodded absently as he walked slowly around the truck, making a new subsection on his mental checklist. One could tell a lot about a person from the way they treated their vehicle, he mused to himself as he crouched down to take a look at the rear tire on the left side. The pick up had obviously been well cared for; he picked out a handful of things he'd like to work on, but none of them were things a novice mechanic would know to look for. Without thinking, he dropped to the floor of the garage and slip himself under the truck's chassis until only his shins and feet were visible. "Huh..." he murmured softly.

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Erin crouched down next to him, bending to look under the car as well. "What are you looking for?" she asked curiously. Given Trevor's choice of hero avocation, she thought he could probably see well enough, but for her own sake she stood and retrieved the flashlight from the glove compartment before sliding under the truck as well.

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"Hmm?" Trevor craned his neck to look over at Erin, his intense focus momentarily broken. "Oh. Nothing specific, just..." He gestured vaguely with one hand as his attention drifted back to the underside of the truck. Digging a pen out of his jean pocket, he proceeded to tap on a number of components thoughtfully. Mumbling to himself absently, he continued to poke around before abruptly realizing how confined a space the pair were sharing. "Ah... s'good, good," he cleared his throat self-consciously, nodding in approval.

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Erin followed his movements with her flashlight, trying to follow what he was looking at, but aside from the major components it was pretty incomprehensible. Her hair, freed from the headband by her trip underneath the car, got into her face and didn't help anything. She brushed it aside impatiently, which helped her, but resulted in a few errant strands escaping to tickle Trevor's cheek instead. "That's... good?" she ventured at his pronouncement.

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"Uh?" Trevor managed, finding himself intensely distracted. "Yes, no, it's- yes, good." Attempting to adjust into a more comfortable position, he inadvertently brushed his leg against Erin's. Reflexively moving to sit up, the soft spoken teen instead smacked his head solidly against the underside of the truck and fell back down against the garage floor, wincing. "Ahhh... well taken care of," he attempted to recover, one eye squeezing shut involuntarily.

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"Ouch." Erin winced sympathetically and angled the flashlight over to look at Trevor, the surprise of his sudden movement quickly outweighing the startlement of his leg brushing hers. "That looked painful. You okay?" Heroically, she resisted the urge to sneak a glance at the undercarriage as well to make sure he hadn't put a dent in it.

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"Fine," Trevor managed in a mildly strained tone, making a thumbs up in the cramped space under the truck. "Occupational hazard," he admitted, forcing his expression to fall back into its usual unreadable impassiveness. In truth, he was usually much more coordinated, but found his habitual sureness of movement considerably more difficult to maintain around Erin, much to his chagrin. The young mechanic gently prodded the spot on the undercarriage his head had collided with, confirming that the metal had withstood his forehead's unexpected assault.

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"Would this be easier if I lifted up the truck?" Erin suggested, reaching for the engine block and pushing up on that and the front axle, lifting the truck a good six inches with no apparent effort. "You can get a better look at it this way." Trevor's head seemed okay, and the truck as well, so that was a relief. "There's a first aid kit in the truck if you want an aspirin or something."

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Trevor blinked as Erin lifted the front of pick up off of the ground. Damn, that's hot, a voice in his head noted before being bludgeoned into silence by the teenager's ingrained sense of propriety. "Beats a jack," he murmured out loud. Shaking his head, he declined the first aid kit. "Be fine," he insisted, glancing at his watch in the increased illumination. "Should get going; can take a closer look later." He didn't want to keep Frank waiting.

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"All right," Erin said, lowering the truck just a bit reluctantly. She would've preferred to spend the afternoon working on the truck than going to get fitted for a dress, but they did have an appointment. Sliding out from under the car, she put her hair back into the headband and brushed herself off, then climbed up into the driver's seat. "Help yourself to the radio," she told him, "it came with a year of satellite radio subscription, so there's pretty much everything." She herself hadn't gotten very creative, the station was currently set to the local Top 40 station.

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Sliding into the passenger seat and closing the door behind him, he buckled his seatbelt before considering the heavily produced pop streaming from the speakers. He didn't have anything against it in particular, but neither did the formulaic looped beats behind the singer's filtered falsetto do much for the stoic youth. Rubbing his chin, he changed the station to one he generally listened to while working. Instantly a crescendo of blaring horns erupted from the radio, backed by a thumping syncopated bass. Settling back into his seat, Trevor absently tapped his fingers to the beat along the door handle.

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Erin jumped at the initial blare, but decided it wasn't too bad, aside from the trumpet crescendos. Following Trevor's directions, she drove the truck into the normal crush of Freedom City traffic, headed for the Riverside district. "So what exactly is the deal with this guy?" she asked. "He made your grandfather's uniforms back in the day, right? Does he do a lot of work with superheroes?"

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Reaching forward to turn the volume down a bit, Trevor replied, "His son, actually. I'll let Frank explain when we get there. Does it better." One of the aging tailor's favourite pastimes was recounting the first meeting between his father and the original Midnight. The dark haired teen shrugged smoothly. "Family friend, anyway. Best there is, and he didn't mind doing me a favour."

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"So he makes mostly costumes, right?" Erin had a bizarre mental picture of a spandex formalwear dress in bright primary colors with a logo emblazoned across the front. That would certainly turn heads at any formal function. "Does he do a lot of other kinds of clothes too, or mostly just that?" She didn't want to insult the family tailor or anything, but it was definitely a concern on her mind.

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Trevor shook his head. "Not anymore. Everybody uses morphic molecules and psychic projections and such these days." He stared out the passenger side window, watching the buildings slide past. "Frank Sr. worked with the old mystery men, guys who needed double-breasted suits they could run and fight in. Dinner jackets with bulletproof panels and trenchcoats with collapsible hang gliders, that sort of thing."

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Erin thought about that for a minute. "Or formal gowns that double as emergency parachutes?" she suggested with a laugh. "Sounds like an interesting job. Think I could convince him to build some kind of fancy gadget into this dress? If the party gets boring, we can climb onto the roof and hang-glide off into the the sunset." The music really wasn't too bad, she decided, when it wasn't quite so loud. It had a nice rhythm.

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Trevor nodded with a faint smile, absently rubbing the spot where his forehead had smacked the truck. "Mmm. Exactly. Took someone creative and, more importantly, trustworthy." Realizing what he was doing, he tried to play it off by running his hand through his hair before setting in back down. "Enough special commissions that Frank Jr. can afford to take the jobs he likes," he continued.

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"You sure you don't want an aspirin?" Erin suggested, glancing over at Trevor as they stopped at a light. "You bumped yourself pretty hard back there. That's the problem of going around without the armored costume, I guess. You get used to being able to take some hits your body can't actually take. I tried a padded costume in simulation for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't get used to it." She reached over and opened the glovebox, revealing a well-organized stash of manuals, first aid and repair supplies, as well as a cache of meal bars and a couple bottles of water.

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"Fine, really," Trevor insisted, mildly embarrassed. "Hard head," he joked lamely, rapping his knuckles against the a part of his skull that wasn't throbbing. "Have to be able to take a hit when you're not invulnerable." He was determined not to give the impression of frailty despite having a less obviously combative power set. Getting thrown around in the Doom Room was one thing, knocking himself out was another altogether.

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"Okay," Erin replied, trying not to sound dubious about it. Egos were a delicate thing, and you didn't have to be Alex to figure out that some of Trevor's was on the line. "Guess I should be grateful you didn't ding my truck with it," she joked instead as she shut the glove box. "Now if you could put a hang glider on the truck, that would be something to see."

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